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CASHEW BUTTERSCOTCH BARS Time: 45 minutes 1/2 pound (2 sticks) plus 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus butter for greasing pan 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) light-brown sugar 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 10 ounces butterscotch chips, preferably Hershey's 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 1/2 cups salted cashew pieces. 1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-18-inch jellyroll pan, including sides. 2. To make the crust: in a mixer with a paddle, or in a bowl with a rubber spatula, beat 1/2 pound plus 2 tablespoons butter and all the brown sugar together until smooth. Stir salt into flour, then add flour to butter and sugar mixture. Mix until dough is well combined but still crumbly; if dough is mixed until a ball forms, crust will be tough. 3. Pat the dough evenly along bottom of buttered pan, taking care not to pack the dough down. Place pan in oven, and bake 5 minutes. With a fork, prick dough deeply all over. Return pan to oven to bake until dough is lightly browned, dry and no longer soft to the touch, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack; do not turn off the oven. 4. To make butterscotch topping: In a large saucepan, combine remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, butterscotch chips, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons water. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until butter and butterscotch chips are melted, about 5 minutes. Pour topping over crust, using a spatula to spread evenly all the way to the corners. Sprinkle cashew pieces on top, pressing down lightly. 5. Bake until topping is bubbly and cashews are lightly browned, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a rack, and cool completely before cutting into two-by-three-inch bars. Yield: 36 bars. Food Movies Music & Nightlife Performance Art Events Books TV Radio -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chez Panisse Brine Brings Out the Best Michael Bauer Wednesday, August 25, 1999 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Leave it to Alice Waters and her crew at Chez Panisse to come up with a recipe that's so simple and so brilliant that it brings out the best in chicken, pork or turkey. They've created a brine with sugar, salt and a few seasonings that infuse loads of flavor into the meats. In fact, she has used this brine on her Thanksgiving turkey and reports that it was marvelous. To test how well the brine worked, I cooked two chickens side by side. One had been soaked in the brine for 24 hours; the other had not been brined at all. Both were filled with Italian parsley, preserved lemons and onions and roasted in a 400-degree oven. The difference was remarkable. While the regular chicken had a deeper richer skin color, the brined chicken was plump and juicy, though a little anemic looking. More important was the amazing flavor and texture. It was also the moistest chicken I can remember eating. The next day I warmed the leftovers. The regular chicken was even drier and had that typical day-old taste, but the brined chicken still tasted moist and fresh. Because of the brining the chicken stays moist enough to leave it in the oven a little longer if necessary to achieve a crisp, bronzed skin. We also tried a pork roast, brined for three days. It came out fabulous, too, and is particularly good leftover for sandwiches the next day. Since Waters opened Chez Panisse more than 25 years ago, she has been at the forefront of improving our food supply -- first gathering farmers to grow the best organic produce, and now spotlighting other causes: a school gardening program and sustainable agriculture. But the food at Chez Panisse, or upstairs in the Cafe, isn't about politics; it's about finding the best ingredients, cooking them simply and presenting them with care. Never one to take things for granted, Waters refurbished the craftsman-style interior in 1998, adding smoky copper mirrors and new lights to give the already pretty space a new lease on life. Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; (510) 548-5525. Dinner Monday-Saturday. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SECRET OF SUCCESS --The brine. The brine infuses flavor into pork, chicken and turkey and makes the meat tender and succulent. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHEZ PANISSE'S BRINE FOR MEATS INGREDIENTS: -- 2 1/2 gallons cold water -- 2 cups kosher salt -- 1 cup sugar -- 2 bay leaves, torn into pieces -- 1 bunch fresh thyme, or 4 tablespoons dried -- 1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled -- 5 whole allspice berries, crushed -- 4 juniper berries, smashed INSTRUCTIONS: Place the water in a large pot that can easily hold the liquid and the meat you intend to brine. Add all ingredients and stir for a minute or two until the sugar and salt dissolve. Leave poultry in the brine for 24 hours; pork for 3 days. If the meat/ poultry floats to the top, use a plate or other weight to keep it completely submerged in the brine. Note: The recipe may be halved or doubled; the important thing is to have enough brine to completely cover the meat or poultry. To roast a brined chicken: Drain well. Pat dry and stuff with onions, lemons and herbs. Rub the skin with oil to help browning and sprinkle with pepper (salt isn't needed because of the brine). Roast in a 400 degrees oven until done; generally about 1 hour and 15 minutes for a 3 1/2- to 4-pound bird. To roast a boneless brined pork roast: Place the meat in a roasting pan and roast at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes per pound, until the center is just pink, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees to 160 degrees.

Chinese Almond Cookies

--1 cup butter
--3/4 cup sugar
--1 teaspoon almond extract
--2 cups sifted flower
--1/2 teaspoon baking powder
--1/2 cup ground almonds
--whole blanched almonds

Cream butter thoroughly. Add sugar gradually; beat until light and fluffy. Add extract. Sift together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture. Blend in ground almonds. Shape into balls using a level tablespoon for each. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on baking sheet and press flat with glass bottom. Top each with a whole almond. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove carefully to wire rack and cool.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

--2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
--1/2 teaspoon baking soda
--1/4 teaspoon salt
--1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
--1/2 cup white sugar
--1 cup salted butter, softened
--2 large eggs
--2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
--2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until just mixed. Do not overmix.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 22-24 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a cool surface with a spatula.
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen


If you don't want to bake these all at once, you can refrigerate a portion of the dough, well-wrapped, for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months. Microwave the refrigerated or frozen dough for 20 seconds to make it easier to shape.

-- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
-- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted, + extra for rolling
-- 2 teaspoons vanilla
-- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
-- 3 cups flour
-- 3/4 teaspoon salt
-- 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
-- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and the powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and the water and continue to mix on low speed until well combined.

Combine the flour, the salt and the toasted pecans in a separate bowl. Add this to the butter-sugar mixture and continue to mix on low speed until dry and crumbly.

Shape the dough into walnut- sized balls. Roll the balls first in the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, then in the extra powdered sugar.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack and once cool, roll them once again in some powdered sugar. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

PER COOKIE: 81 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 27 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.

English Toffee Cookies

--1 cup butter or margarine
--1 cup sugar
--1 egg, separated
--2 cups regular all-purpose flour
--1 teaspoon cinammon
--1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream the butter or margarine and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg yolk and mix in thoroughly. Sift the flour, measure, and sift again with the cinnamon. Add flour to the creamed mixture, using your hands to blend together lightly but thoroughly.

Spread in an even layer over the entire surface of a greased cooky sheat (10*15). Work with your palms to smooth the surface. Beat the egg white slightly; spread on top to completely cover. Sprinkle teh chopped nuts over all, pressing them into the cough.

Bake in a 275 degree oven for 1 hour. Cut in 1 1/2 inch squares while still hot. Cool. Makes about 6 dozen.